Hello Friends and Family and Supporters. It has been an extremely long time since I have been able to get back with you. In fact the last time was probably right after I received my visa probably. Well now that I have finally arrived,I will be using this site to give you an update about my life in Japan. I hope that it will be useful to you in knowing the work I will be doing here in Japan.
It all started about 10 in the morning on September 8th, I left my parents at the Tulsa International Airport. While my mom was really crying, what she doesn't know is that it was about to come out of me butI was really trying to stay strong. I was about to start though too. Anyways, after a flight from Tulsa to Denver, Denver to Los Angeles, and Los Angeles toTokyo, I finally made it to about 21 hours later. When I arrived in Japan, I had 5 of some of my greatest Japanese friends that I have made over the years through the IC and OC exchange program waiting for me. They were even kind enough to take me out for sushi and to Coco's restaurant for pizza. These are probably two of my favorite restaurants in Japan and I was already starting out living my life in Japan on Cloud 9.
Although I arrived in Japan Friday night, I was already ready to go to work on Saturday morning. I woke up on Saturday morning and decided I would go with the Crash Japan group to the north where the tsunami and earthquake caused a lot of damage. It was amazing and devastating how much this disaster had caused. There were some children there who were balding already because of the stress that this had caused on their lives. There were also many other children who were sick with various problems. It was extremely sad to see what these people were going through. While I was there, we passed out free food for the community as well as giving them supplies they could use such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper tow
els, soap, and those kinds of things. There were quite a bit of people that ended up showing up and it was great to see some smiling faceson these people.
You can see tsunami damage inside.(Many places looked like this) You can also see here where the entire block was probably filled with houses but are gone due to the disaster.
People getting cleaning supplies and preparing food to give to people
On Sunday, I spent my first Sunday in worship. The church has about 30 members at the most but only about 15 that come every Sunday. After morning worship we had a pot luck for me.
We then spent the afternoon at the church planning what my week would entail. After that we had an English worship service at 5:00 and another Japanese worship at 7:00.
Tomobe Church Building
Once Monday morning arrived, I had yet another busy day ahead of me. I spent the morning going to the Ibaraki (which is like a state) Preacher's Meeting with all the preachers of the Church of Christ in Ibaraki. These are generally held on the second Monday of every month. While we were there one of the ministers from the church I attended noticed I was there and decided to sing the first song I led in Japanese when I was an exchange student as the song they sang for the meeting because it was my first one. The first part of the meeting was encouragement through prayer, scripture and song and then the last part of it discussing future events that will be occurring through each of our congregations and throughout Japan within the church. After we finished the meeting, We all had a meal that was prepared by the congregation we held the meeting in. After the meeting was over, we had to then head home to prepare for our Hitachi Christian Camp meeting. During this meeting we discussed what all the people who ran camp thought what was good about camp and what things needed to be better. While I was unable to go, I was able to give some input based on when I was an exchange student. We ended up eating pizza and it was a great time for fellowship with some people I had not seen in a while.
Ibaraki Preachers Meeting & Hitachi Christian Camp Meeting
I spent the rest of my week watching Marlin and Jeanne (The missionary I am working with and his wife) teach their School of Life classes. In fact, I ended up teaching one on the fly because Marlin had a last minute meeting come up that he had to atten
d. The School of Life classes are English classes that are offered at the church building. Everyone who comes is expected to pay a small fee for books and for the electric bills at the church. This low cost helps people become more interested in coming because it is a much lower cost than any of the other English schools around town. However, as part of it being such a low price, the people also get a 30 minute Bible study at the end of each class. Some of the Bible studies are all Japanese for beginners. While some of them may not be interested in the Bible yet, they are interested in having a Bible study enough that they do not have to pay the higher price of a regular English school. These classes normally last Monday through Friday and can occur anytime from 9:00 in the morning until 10:00 at night. This helps make it convenient for people to come based off of their schedule. On average, each class has about 2-5 people and there are about 10 classes all together. Nearly everyone that comes is also not a christian.
After spending my week watching Marlin and Jeanne teach there classes and teaching a couple
myself, I spent a couple of nights this week hanging out with some old friends of mine. One of these friends of mine is that I hung out with is named Aguri as you can see in the picture. Aguri loves to ride motorcycles and he knows that I loves to ride motorcycles. Therefore every time we get together, we like to race motorcycles at the arcade place. Aguri became a Christian a few years ago but has a hard time being active in the church and doesn't attend very regularly. I am hoping that I can get him involved again very soon.
On Saturday, I went with Marlin and Yasuki, another member of Tomobe church who is about to probably go to preaching school to a cemetery to fix the Tomobe Church Family grave. In Japan, funerals are usually a big deal and are often held in the form of a Buddhist funeral. Bodies are also cremated as well. Most people are generally buried with their family but several years ago, Tomobe church decided to make a church family one. Since that time in 1993, 3 members of the church have been buried there. However, most likely due to the earthquake, the inside of it was being filled with water. Marlin, Yasuki and I went to fix it on Saturday and then came back to the church to help the ladies finish cleaning up the outside of the church building.
Trying to fix the Tomobe Church Grave to keep it from leaking
Well, I know this was a lot of information, but I wanted to give you an idea of how my first week has gone. It has been extremely busy and I have a lot more busy things coming up in the near future. I hope from here on out that I can keep it to more of a minimum but I felt like most of these things were important to share with you. If you have any questions about anything, please don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to answer any of your questions. I thank God for each and every one of you when I pray and sharing with me in this mission. May God bless each and every one of you.